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Palmieri nets two as Devils defeat Bruins, 3-2

Kyle Palmieri scored a pair of goals as the New Jersey Devils beat the Boston Bruins, 3-2, at TD Garden on Thursday night in Boston.

Mackenzie Blackwood (4-0-1, 1.94 goals against average, .945 save percentage in five games played) made 25 saves on 27 shots faced for a .926 SV% in the win for New Jersey.

Boston netminder, Jaroslav Halak (4-1-1, 1.66 GAA, .928 SV% in six games played) stopped 23 out of 26 shots against (.885 SV%) in the loss.

The Bruins fell to 10-3-2 (22 points) on the season, but remained in command of the MassMutual NHL East Division lead, while the Devils improved to 6-3-2 (14 points) overall and stagnant in 6th place in the division.

Once more, the Bruins were without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body) and Matt Grzelcyk (lower body), but Jakub Zboril (upper body) joined the pair of injured teammates in the press box on Thursday night– missing his first game of the season due to an injury sustained on Feb. 13th in the, 4-2, loss at the Islanders.

Kase missed his 13th game due to an injury sustained on Jan. 16th in New Jersey, while Grzelcyk missed his ninth game due to an injury originally sustained on Jan. 21st against Philadelphia, then re-aggravated on Jan. 28th against Pittsburgh and on Feb. 10th in New York (against the Rangers).

As a result of the injuries and more, Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, jumbled his lines.

Jake DeBrusk replaced David Pastrnak on the first line right wing with Brad Marchand at left wing and captain, Patrice Bergeron, at center.

Pastrnak was “demoted” to the second line with Nick Ritchie and David Krejci, while Trent Frederic, Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith were reunited on the third line.

Anders Bjork, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner made up the fourth line.

On defense, Cassidy left Jeremy Lauzon with Charlie McAvoy on the first defensive pairing, while John Moore filled in Grzelcyk’s usual role on the second pairing with Brandon Carlo and Connor Clifton was slotted into Zboril’s spot alongside Kevan Miller.

Greg McKegg, Steven Kampfer, Urho Vaakanainen, Callum Booth and Karson Kuhlman made up Boston’s taxi squad on Thursday, while Anton Blidh was assigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Wednesday and Par Lindholm had his contract terminated by the club on Monday after being placed on waivers for the purpose of terminating his deal on Sunday.

Lindholm signed a multiyear contract with Skellefteå AIK in his return to the Swedish Hockey League (SHL).

Not much happened in the first period. In fact, so much not much that the only event on the scoresheet was a penalty against Wagner for tripping Devils forward, Miles Wood, at 10:29.

New Jersey did not convert on the ensuing power play.

After one period of action Thursday night at TD Garden, the game was tied, 0-0, on the scoreboard and in shots on goal, 7-7.

Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (7-4) and giveaways (5-3), while New Jersey led in hits (9-8).

Both teams managed three takeaways aside and split faceoff win percentage (50-50).

The Devils were 0/1 on the power play, while the Bruins had yet to see time on the skater advantage heading into the first intermission.

Early in the middle period, Jack Hughes pulled both Boston defenders out of position before dropping a pass to Palmieri (1) for the wrist shot goal over Halak’s glove side.

Hughes (6) had the only assist on Palmieri’s first goal of the night as the Devils took the lead, 1-0, at 1:34 of the second period.

Less than a minute later, Palmieri cut a rut to the penalty box with McAvoy after the two players roughed each other up a bit after a stoppage in play, resulting in 4-on-4 action for a pair of minutes at 2:14 of the middle frame.

Moments later, Moore tripped Jesper Bratt and was sent to the sin bin at 8:01, yielding a power play to New Jersey in the process.

Once again the Devils weren’t able to convert on the skater advantage, however, as P.K. Subban caught Bjork with a high stick and drew blood at 9:05 of the second period, resulting in a four-minute double minor penalty on Subban.

The two clubs shared 56 seconds of 4-on-4 action before the Bruins began an extended power play for a span of 3:04.

While shorthanded, the Devils forced a turnover in the neutral zone, presenting Palmieri (2) with a clear lane to the net for his second goal of the night on a similar shot to his first goal of the game.

Damon Severson (5) and Bratt (3) tallied the assists on Palmieri’s shorthanded goal as New Jersey led, 2-0, at 10:39 of the second period.

In the waning minute of their power play, DeBrusk (1) found a loose puck in the slot and buried a shot over Blackwood’s blocker side to cut New Jersey’s lead in half, 2-1, and give Boston their first goal of the night.

DeBrusk’s power-play goal was unassisted at 12:36.

Moments later, the Bruins tweeted that Krejci (lower body) would not return to the night’s action– necessitating some changes to Cassidy’s in-game lineup.

Late in the period, Nathan Bastian and Coyle received matching roughing minors after yet another post-whistle scrum at 15:08.

On the ensuing 4-on-4 action, New Jersey worked the puck in the offensive zone while Moore and Carlo struggled to remain in proper positioning in their own end.

Andreas Johnsson sent a pass to Pavel Zacha (4) for a one-timer goal over Halak’s blocker from the inside circle to the Bruins netminder’s right side.

Johnsson (2) and Will Butcher (1) notched the assists on Zacha’s goal and the Devils led, 3-1, at 15:37 of the second period.

Through 40 minutes of play on Thursday, New Jersey led, 3-1, on the scoreboard and, 18-15, in shots on goal, including an, 11-8, advantage in the second period alone while Boston struggled on home ice.

The Bruins led in blocked shots (11-8), giveaways (8-6) and faceoff win% (58-43), while the Devils led in takeaways (5-4) and hits (16-15).

New Jersey was 0/2 on the power play, while Boston was 1/2 on the skater advantage entering the final frame of regulation.

The Bruins found themselves shorthanded when Lauzon tripped Palmieri at 7:01 of the third period, but made matters worse when Marchand caught Hughes with a high stick at 7:36 and presented the Devils with a two-skater advantage for 1:25.

Boston’s penalty kill got the job done, however.

Late in the final frame, Ty Smith sent an errant puck clear over the glass and received a minor infraction for delay of game at 17:49, presenting the B’s with a power play that– if they couldn’t score– would expire with 11 seconds left in the game.

Cassidy pulled Halak for an extra attacker to make it a 6-on-4 advantage for Boston.

About a minute into the ensuing power play, Pastrnak fired a shot from the point that McAvoy (2) deflected while battling Dmitry Kulikov in the slot to pull Boston to within one goal.

Pastrnak (6) and Ritchie (6) were credited with the assists on the power-play goal and the Bruins trailed, 3-2, at 18:54 of the third period.

With 1:06 to go, Cassidy used his timeout to rally Boston for another goal, but it was too little, too late as the final horn sounded 66 seconds later.

New Jersey emerged victorious, 3-2, as time expired.

The Bruins finished with the advantage in shots on goal, 27-26, including a, 12-8, advantage in shots on goal in the third period alone.

Boston also wrapped up Thursday night’s action leading in blocked shots (16-13), giveaways (11-9) and faceoff win% (61-39), while the New Jersey finished the night leading in hits (24-21).

The Devils went 0/4 on the skater advantage while the B’s converted on 2/3 power play opportunities.

The B’s fell to 3-2-0 (1-1-0 at home) when tied after the first period, 2-1-1 (1-1-0 at home) when trailing after two periods and 4-2-2 (1-1-0 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal this season.

New Jersey, meanwhile, improved to 2-1-1 (2-0-1 on the road) when tied after the first period, 4-0-0 (3-0-0 on the road) when leading after two periods and 6-1-0 (4-0-0 on the road) when scoring the game’s first goal this season.

The Bruins hit the road for a home game outdoors at Lake Tahoe against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday (2 p.m. ET on NBC) before returning to the road for a three-game road trip against the New York Islanders on Feb. 25th and New York Rangers on Feb. 26th, as well as Feb. 28th.

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Bergeron notches pair in Boston’s, 4-1, win against Penguins

Patrice Bergeron had a pair of goals to provide some insurance for the Boston Bruins in their, 4-1, win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night at TD Garden.

Jaroslav Halak (2-0-1, 1.30 goals against average, .938 save percentage in three games played) made 16 saves on 17 shots against for a .941 SV% in the win for Boston.

Pittsburgh goaltender, Tristan Jarry (2-3-1, 3.93 GAA, .859 SV% in six games played), stopped 16 out of 20 shots faced for an .800 SV% in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 5-1-1 (11 points) on the season, while the Penguins fell to 4-3-1 (nine points) overall. Boston remained in command of 2nd place, while Pittsburgh remained 4th in the MassMutual NHL East Division.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made several changes to his lineup from Tuesday night’s, 3-2, overtime win against Pittsburgh.

With Jake DeBrusk (lower body) out of the lineup due to injury, Craig Smith took over the first line right wing spot, while Charlie Coyle moved up to the second line right wing.

Par Lindholm made his season debut on the third line with Trent Frederic and Jack Studnicka, while Anders Bjork and Chris Wagner were remained on the wings of Sean Kuraly’s fourth line.

On defense, Matt Grzelcyk (lower body) returned to the second defensive pairing with Brandon Carlo after Grzelcyk missed the last two games due to an injury he sustained on Jan. 21st against the Flyers.

In net, Halak got the start as expected, while Dan Vladar served as Boston’s backup with Tuukka Rask (lower body) in the press box for a night after laboring a bit, but playing through the rest of Tuesday night’s game.

Once more, David Pastrnak (hip) and Ondrej Kase (upper body) missed Thursday night’s action, though the former may make his season debut on Saturday at the earliest.

Pastrnak, Kase, DeBrusk and Rask were out of the lineup due to injury, while John Moore, Connor Clifton, Greg McKegg, Urho Vaakanainen and Callum Booth were all listed as healthy scratches and/or taxi squad members against the Penguins on Thursday.

Jarry tripped up Patrice Bergeron 52 seconds into the first period as the Penguins goaltender reached outside his crease and caught the Bruins captain with his stick while Bergeron was chasing a loose puck in the near vicinity.

Boston did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Moments later, Wagner (1) buried a rebound to give the Bruins the, 1-0, lead at 6:10 of the first period. Wagner’s goal was unassisted.

Less than a minute later, Coyle was guilty of holding against Penguins defender, John Marino, and presented Pittsburgh with their first power play opportunity of the night.

The Pens were not successful on the ensuing skater advantage.

Late in the opening frame, Cody Ceci (1) worked his way into the attacking zone and fired a shot past Halak’s blocker side from the slot to tie the game, 1-1.

Bryan Rust (4) and Teddy Blueger (3) tallied the assists on Ceci’s goal at 15:03 of the first period as the Penguins breathed a sign of life.

It did not last that long.

Bjork sent a chip shot off of Blueger that led to a wacky bounce through Pittsburgh defender, Kevin Czuczman’s legs, before redirecting off of Kuraly and into the twine.

Kuraly (1) was credited with his first goal of the season– having been the last Bruin to touch the rubber biscuit before it ended up in the back of the net– while Bjork (1) had the only assist as the B’s retook the lead, 2-1, at 18:53.

After one period of action in Boston on Thursday, the Bruins led, 2-1, on the scoreboard and, 9-6, in shots on goal.

The B’s also held the advantage in faceoff win percentage (67-33), while the Pens led in blocked shots (6-3), giveaways (7-2), as well as hits (12-7).

Both teams had two takeaways and were 0/1 on the power play entering the first intermission.

Almost midway through the middle frame, Bergeron (4) slipped a backhand shot under Jarry’s blocker side while falling to his knees from point blank to extend Boston’s lead to two-goals.

Grzelcyk (3) and Coyle (2) had the assists on Bergeron’s first goal of the night and the Bruins led, 3-1, at 8:13 of the second period.

Moments later, Jeremy Lauzon was called for interference as he knocked Drew O’Connor into Halak away from the puck at 13:40.

Pittsburgh’s power play was powerless as Boston’s penalty kill got the job done.

Grzelcyk cut a rut to the sin bin at 18:35 of the second period after earning an infraction for holding Jake Guentzel.

The Bruins defender went to the box to serve his minor penalty, but would not return for the third period of play, as Boston later tweeted that Grzelcyk would not return to the action with a lower body injury.

Through 40 minutes of play on Thursday, the Bruins led, 3-1, on the scoreboard and, 16-11, in shots on goal, including a, 7-5, advantage in the second period alone.

Boston also led in takeaways (5-4) and faceoff win% (67-33) after two periods, while Pittsburgh held the advantage in blocked shots (9-5) and hits (21-15).

The two clubs each had nine giveaways entering the second intermission, while the Penguins were 0/3 on the power play and the Bruins were still 0/1 on the skater advantage.

Less than a minute into the final frame, Marino was assessed an interference minor for tying up Smith away from the puck 55 seconds into the third period.

Late in the ensuing power play, the Bruins worked the puck around the attacking zone in an umbrella formation– Charlie McAvoy to David Krejci, Krejci back to McAvoy, McAvoy to Brad Marchand and finally Marchand to Bergeron at the bumper.

Bergeron (5) one-timed a shot past Jarry to give the Bruins a three-goal lead with a power-play goal at 1:40 of the third period.

Marchand (6) and McAvoy (5) tallied the assists on Bergeron’s power-play goal as the Bruins took a, 4-1, lead in Bergeron’s 47th career two-goal game.

Shots were in short supply in the third period, as was just about everything else on the event sheet as time winded down and the final horn sounded.

Boston won, 4-1, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 20-17, despite trailing Pittsburgh in shots on goal in the third period alone, 6-4.

The Penguins left TD Garden with the advantage in giveaways (14-10) and hits (26-20), while the Bruins departed with the victory and the advantage in faceoff win% (63-37).

Both teams had nine blocked shots each after 60 minutes of action.

Pittsburgh finished the night 0/3 on the power play, while Boston went 1/2 on the skater advantage on Thursday.

With the victory assured, the Bruins improved to 4-0-0 when leading after the first period, 4-0-0 when leading after the second period and 4-0-0 when scoring the game’s first goal this season.

Boston is now on a four-game winning streak coinciding with their four-game homestand (4-0-0). The B’s hit the road for a four-game road trip in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia starting on Saturday when they take on former captain, Zdeno Chara, and the Washington Capitals.

The Bruins face the Caps again on Feb. 1st before venturing to the “City of Brotherly Love” to face the Flyers on Feb. 3rd and Feb. 5th.

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McAvoy’s three-assists help Bruins, beat Pens, 3-2, in OT

Craig Smith scored the game-winning goal in overtime Tuesday night for the Boston Bruins as Charlie McAvoy had a three-point night (all assists) in Boston’s, 3-2, overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.

Tuukka Rask (3-1-0, 2.14 goals against average, .905 save percentage in four games played) made 28 saves on 30 shots against for a .933 SV% in the overtime win for the Bruins.

Penguins goaltender, Tristan Jarry (2-2-1, 3.92 GAA, .868 SV% in five games played), stopped 33 out of 36 shots faced for a .917 SV% in the overtime loss.

Boston improved to 4-1-1 (nine points) on the season and jumped into 2nd place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while Pittsburgh fell to 4-2-1 (nine points) on the season and 4th place in the division.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup from Saturday night’s, 6-1, win against the Philadelphia Flyers to Tuesday night’s meeting with the Penguins.

Once more, David Pastrnak (hip) missed his sixth game this season and has yet to make his 2020-21 debut, but returned to practice in a regular full-contact jersey on Monday. He will likely be able to make a return to the lineup on Saturday at the earliest.

Ondrej Kase (upper body) missed his fourth game due to an injury sustained on Jan. 16th in New Jersey, while Matt Grzelcyk (lower body) also remained out of the lineup for the second time this season after being injured on Jan. 21st against Philadelphia.

Greg McKegg, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Dan Vladar and Karson Kuhlman remained on the taxi squad and/or were healthy scratches on Tuesday.

Connor Clifton was penalized for cross checking and presented the Penguins with the first power play of the night at 7:18 of the first period.

Pittsburgh’s power play was powerless on the resulting skater advantage, however.

In the meantime, Boston’s penalty kill went to work and notched another shorthanded goal this season as McAvoy scooped up a loose puck that deflected off fo Jared McCann in the neutral zone before sending Brad Marchand (4) into the attacking zone for the shot that beat Jarry’s glove side.

Marchand’s goal gave the Bruins a, 1-0, lead and was his 28th career shorthanded goal (the most in B’s franchise history). McAvoy (2) had the only assist on the tally at 7:41 of the first period.

Late in the period, Chris Wagner cut a rut to the penalty box for interference at 18:03, but the Pens failed to convert on the ensuing power play.

Entering the first intermission, Boston led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 11-6, in shots on goal.

The B’s also held the advantage in hits (11-10) and faceoff win percentage (67-33), while the Penguins led in takeaways (3-0) and giveaways (6-3) after 20 minutes.

Both teams had three blocked shots aside, while Pittsburgh was 0/2 on the power play after one period. Boston had yet to see time on the skater advantage.

Early in the middle frame, Patrice Bergeron hooked Mark Jankowski and was assessed a minor infraction at 2:55 of the second period.

Pittsburgh did not convert on the resulting power play.

Moments later, Chad Ruhwedel hooked Trent Frederic and presented Boston with their first power play of the night at 6:15 of the second period.

The Bruins shortly found themselves on a two-skater advantage when Brandon Tanev tripped Marchand at 6:52.

While on the abbreviated 5-on-3 power play, the B’s established zone time with possession before McAvoy worked the puck to Marchand, who promptly sent a pass to Nick Ritchie (3) for the redirection goal on the doorstep at 7:58 of the second period.

Marchand (5) and McAvoy (3) notched the assists on Ritchie’s power-play goal as the Bruins pulled ahead, 2-0.

Through the two-skater advantage had come to a successful end, Boston’s resulting 5-on-4 advantage did not yield a change on the scoreboard.

Just past the midpoint of the middle frame– with 9:55 remaining in the second after a stoppage– the Bruins tweeted that Jake DeBrusk (lower body) would not return to the night’s action.

Moments later, Smith slashed Bryan Rust and was sent to the sin bin at 12:00.

Once again, the Penguins couldn’t muster anything on the power play.

The Pens had yet another chance at 17:45, when Jakub Zboril tripped Jake Guentzel, but Pittsburgh’s ensuing advantage was cut short when Kris Letang tripped Wagner at 18:52 of the second period.

The two clubs had 53 seconds of 4-on-4 action before Boston finished the special teams play with an abbreviated power play.

Through 40 minutes of action on Tuesday night, the Bruins led, 2-0, on the scoreboard, as well as, 26-23, in shots on goal, despite being outshot by Pittsburgh, 17-15, in the second period alone.

Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (6-3), hits (16-14) and faceoff win% (63-38) after two periods, while the Penguins led in giveaways (10-5).

Both teams had five takeaways each after two periods of play.

The Pens were 0/5 on the power play, while the B’s were 1/3 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame of regulation.

Ritchie kicked things off in the final frame of regulation with a tripping penalty at 7:39 of the third period after he got his stick under the legs of Pierre-Olivier Joseph and took out the Penguins skater.

Pittsburgh’s ensuing power play was the best it looked all night, but the Pens weren’t successful until the vulnerable minute after special teams action, when a scramble in front of the net led to Rask overexerting himself.

While Rask was down and clutching his right thigh, Jason Zucker (1) shot the puck into the twine past Rask’s glove to cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1.

McCann (3) and Drew O’Connor (1) tallied the assists on Zucker’s goal at 9:47 of the third period. O’Connor’s secondary assist was the first point of his NHL career as the Penguins pulled to within one.

Pittsburgh’s onslaught continued, despite both teams only firing six shots on goal each in the third period.

After a break that went wrong when Marchand had the puck knocked off his stick by John Marino, Evgeni Malkin worked it to Kasperi Kapanen as the Penguins winger broke into the attacking zone with speed.

Kapanen (1) slipped the puck under Rask’s right leg pad as the Bruins goaltender tried unsuccessfully to poke the puck free from Kapanen’s reach.

Pittsburgh tied it, 2-2, at 16:44.

Malkin (2) and Zucker (2) had the assists on Kapanen’s first goal as a Penguin.

The 24-year-old native of Kuopio, Finland made his Penguins debut this season after he was re-acquired by the team over the summer after originally being drafted by Pittsburgh in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft.

Kapanen was part of the Phil Kessel trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs and broke into the league in the 2015-16 season with the Leafs prior to being sent back to Pittsburgh on Aug. 25th.

After 60 minutes of action, the game remained tied, 2-2, and thus required overtime.

The Bruins outshot the Penguins, 32-29, through regulation and held the advantage in blocked shots (9-6), takeaways (7-5) and faceoff win% (68-32).

Pittsburgh led in giveaways (14-7) and hits (26-24) heading into the extra frame.

As there were no penalties called in overtime, the Pens finished the night 0/6 on the skater advantage, while the B’s went 1/3 on the power play.

Penguins head coach, Mike Sullivan, started Sidney Crosby, Guentzel and Letang in overtime.

Cassidy countered with Bergeron, Marchand and McAvoy.

The two teams swapped chances, but struggled to find the net.

Clifton misplayed the puck with about 3:37 remaining in the overtime period, which led to a breakaway opportunity for Malkin, but No. 71 on the Penguins sent a shot over Rask’s glove, off the crossbar and out of play.

Shortly thereafter, Pittsburgh nearly capitalized on yet another defensive breakdown by Boston as the Penguins entered the attacking zone with a 3-on-0 in overtime.

Malkin tossed the puck to Letang, who sent it back to Malkin for the setup on what looked to be a surefire game-winning one-timer opportunity for Pittsburgh.

Just as Malkin let go of the rubber biscuit for the last pass to Letang, Rask broke the play up with a pokecheck that shutdown the passing lane.

It was a 3-on-0 in overtime and the Penguins didn’t even record a shot on net on the scoring chance.

With less than a minute remaining in the overtime period, the Bruins were once again looking to get out of their own zone.

Boston got a break when Marino looked like he was going for a line change, then botched the play as the puck neared the bench and turned it over to McAvoy.

The Bruins defender hit Smith with a pass that led to a 2-on-0 for Boston as Smith sent the puck over to David Krejci as the B’s duo neared the Pittsburgh crease.

Krejci setup Smith (2) for the game-winning goal through Jarry’s five-hole as the Bruins succeeded where the Penguins could not.

Boston capitalized on a chance without an opposing defense.

Krejci (5) and McAvoy (4) topped off the night with assists on Smith’s game-winning goal at 4:49 of the overtime period.

The Bruins downed the Penguins, 3-2, and extended their winning streak to three games while ending Pittsburgh’s at four games.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 36-30, including a, 4-1, advantage in overtime alone.

The B’s also finished Tuesday night leading in blocked shots (11-7) and faceoff win% (70-30), while the Pens left the building with the advantage in giveaways (14-7) and hits (29-26).

The Bruins improved to 1-1 in overtime (3-1 past regulation overall) this season, while the Penguins fell to 1-1 in overtime (3-1 past regulation overall) so far in 2020-21.

Boston improved to 3-0-0 when leading after the first period, 3-0-0 when leading after the second period and 3-0-0 when scoring the game’s first goal this season.

The Bruins wrap up their four-game homestand (3-0-0) against the Penguins on Thursday before hitting the road for a four-game road trip in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.

Boston takes on their former captain, Zdeno Chara, and the Washington Capitals on Jan. 30th and Feb. 1st before venturing to the “City of Brotherly Love” to face the Flyers on Feb. 3rd and Feb. 5th.

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11 Bruins earn at least a point in, 6-1, rout of Flyers

Boston Bruins captain, Patrice Bergeron, and teammate, Brad Marchand, each had two goals and three points in a, 6-1, win over the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday night at TD Garden.

Two B’s earned their first career National Hockey League point, while another scored their first as a Bruin in the outburst of offense as Jaroslav Halak (1-0-0, 1.44 goals against average, .938 save percentage in two games played) made 16 saves on 17 shots faced for a .941 SV% in the win for Boston.

Flyers goaltender, Carter Hart (2-2-1, 4.19 GAA, .880 SV% in five games played) stopped 20 out of 26 shots faced for a .769 SV% in the loss.

Boston improved to 3-1-1 (seven points) on the season and took command of 2nd place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, bumping Philadelphia (now 3-2-1, seven points) to 3rd place in the division.

The Bruins also improved to 2-0-0 at home (two games) this season, while Claude Giroux took part in his 610th game as the captain of the Flyers– tying Bobby Clarke for the most games as captain in franchise history.

Bruce Cassidy made a few changes to his Bruins lineup, swapping Anders Bjork with Trent Frederic– promoting Frederic to the third line and demoting Bjork to the fourth line in the process.

On defense, Cassidy replaced Matt Grzelcyk (lower body) with Connor Clifton, who made his season debut alongside Brandon Carlo on the second pairing.

Greg McKegg, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Dan Vladar and Karson Kuhlman all were healthy scratches and/or taxi squad members on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, Ondrej Kase (upper body) missed his third game since being injured in New Jersey on Jan. 16th, David Pastrnak (hip) missed his fifth and has yet to make his season debut and Grzelcyk (lower body) missed his first game this season due to an injury in Thursday night’s, 5-4, shootout win over the Flyers.

Almost midway through the opening frame, Mark Friedman hooked Frederic and was assessed a minor infraction at 7:55 of the first period.

It didn’t take Boston’s power play unit that long to find the back of the net as Bergeron (2) pounced on a rebound and slipped the puck past Hart to give the Bruins a, 1-0, lead.

Nick Ritchie (2) and David Krejci (4) tallied the assists on Bergeron’s power-play goal at 8:09 of the first period.

After one period of action Saturday night, the B’s led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 10-4, in shots on goal.

Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (7-2), takeaways (4-1) and hits (11-8), while Philadelphia led in giveaways (3-2) and faceoff win percentage (68-32).

The Flyers had not yet seen any time on the skater advantage heading into the first intermission, while the Bruins were 1/1 on the power play.

About a minute into the middle frame, the B’s had a great scoring chance that just didn’t pan out.

Instead, Philadelphia emerged with a rush the opposite way, in which Jakub Voracek sent a shot pass from the boards to Kevin Hayes (3) for the tip-in past Halak.

Hayes’ goal tied the game, 1-1, at 1:14 of the second period and was assisted by Voracek (6).

But the game wouldn’t remain tied for long as Charlie Coyle got a backhand spin pass through the low slot to Craig Smith (1) as the Boston winger pounced on the puck and hit the twine while Hart was out of position.

Smith’s goal– his first as a Bruin– was assisted by Coyle (1) and Jeremy Lauzon (1) at 2:30 of the second period– marking a span of 1:16 between Hayes’ tying goal and Smith’s eventual game-winning goal.

Almost midway through the middle frame, Voracek received a roughing minor and was sent to the penalty box at 7:28, but Boston’s power play wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Moments later, the Coyle tripped Giroux and cut a rut to the sin bin at 12:37, presenting a skater advantage to the Flyers.

Philly was unsuccessful on the resulting power play, however.

Late in the period, Frederic setup Coyle (2) for a one-handed deflection goal over Hart’s glove side and under the crossbar to give Boston their first two-goal lead of the season.

Frederic (1) had the primary assist, while Smith (2) had the secondary assist on Coyle’s goal and the Bruins led, 3-1, at 17:50 of the second period.

With an assist on the goal, Frederic officially registered his first point in the NHL.

Entering the second intermission, the Bruins led, 3-1, on the scoreboard and, 16-12, in shots on goal, despite the Flyers holding an, 8-6, advantage in the second period alone.

Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (12-7), takeaways (8-4) and hits (22-13) through the first 40 minutes of action, while Philadelphia led in giveaways (5-4) and faceoff win% (58-43).

The Flyers were 0/1 and the Bruins were 1/2 on the power play after two periods.

Marchand (2) kicked off the scoring in the final frame after initially sending a shot wide of the net before Jake DeBrusk kept the puck low in the attacking zone, whereby Bergeron scooped it up before passing it to Marchand for the close range one-timer past Hart.

Bergeron (3) and DeBrusk (1) notched the helpers on Marchand’s first goal of the game and the Bruins extended their lead to, 4-1, at 4:13 of the third period.

About a couple of minutes later, Friedman earned unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for some heated words and shoving aimed at Frederic after a stoppage in play and presented Boston with another power play at 6:54 of the third period.

65 seconds later, the Bruins converted on the ensuing skater advantage when Marchand (3) fired a shot under Hart’s glove into the twine from the faceoff dot to the Philadelphia netminder’s left side.

Ritchie (3) picked up his second assist of the night, while Jakub Zboril (1) earned the secondary assist, which was also the first point of his NHL career.

Marchand’s second goal of the night gave the B’s a, 5-1, lead at 7:59 of the third period, while on the power play.

Less than a minute later, Bjork hooked Michael Raffl and set the Flyers up with their last power play of the night.

Philly’s power play was powerless as the Bruins made the kill.

Later, James van Riemsdyk tripped Coyle at 13:17, presenting Boston with yet another skater advantage.

This time, Bergeron (3) finished the night’s scoring with Boston’s third power-play goal on yet another rebound that the Bruins captain banked off of the Flyers goaltender and into the net.

Marchand (4) and Charlie McAvoy (1) had the assists on Bergeron’s power-play goal at 13:33 of the third period and the Bruins led, 6-1.

At the sound of the final horn, Boston had won, 6-1, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 26-17, including a, 10-5, advantage in the final frame alone.

The Bruins wrapped up Saturday night with the final advantage in blocked shots (14-10) and hits (26-24), while the Flyers ended the game leading in giveaways (6-4) and faceoff win% (54-46).

Philadelphia went 0/2 on the power play, while Boston notched a 3/4 success rate on the skater advantage in the 60-minute effort.

With Bergeron wracking up another three-point night in his career, he became the 11th player in Bruins franchise history to record at least 50 games with three or more points.

Phil Esposito has the club record for more games (140) with at least three or more points.

Boston improved to 11-0-3 in their last 14 regular season home games against Philadelphia, which is also their longest active point streak at home against any opponent.

The Bruins improved to 2-0-0 when scoring the game’s first goal, 2-0-0 when leading after the first period and 2-0-0 when leading after two periods this season.

Boston continues their four-game homestand (2-0-0) with two games against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 26th and Jan. 28th before hitting the road down to D.C. on Jan. 30th and Feb. 1st, then Philadelphia on Feb. 3rd and Feb. 5th.

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DeBrusk aims high in Boston’s, 5-4, shootout win over Flyers

Jake DeBrusk dragged his foot before letting go of a chip shot over Carter Hart to give the Boston Bruins a, 5-4, shootout victory Thursday night at TD Garden.

It was Boston’s home opener and second shootout win of the season– just their second shootout win since beating the Vegas Golden Knights, 3-2, in a shootout victory on the road on Feb. 20, 2019, as the club went 0-7 last season in shootouts.

Tuukka Rask (2-1-0, 2.23 goals against average, .892 save percentage in three games played) made 22 saves on 26 shots against for an .846 SV% in the shootout win.

Hart (2-1-1, 3.66 GAA, .902 SV% in four games played) stopped 39 out of 43 shots faced for a .907 SV% in the shootout loss for Philadelphia.

The Bruins improved to 2-1-1 (five points) on the season and jumped from 6th in the MassMutual NHL East Division to 5th place, while the Flyers fell to 3-1-1 (seven points) on the season and remained in command of the MassMutual NHL East Division.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup from Monday’s, 1-0, loss to the Islanders in New York.

As such, Greg McKegg, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Connor Clifton, Dan Vladar and Karson Kuhlman remained out of the lineup as taxi squad and healthy scratches.

David Pastrnak missed his fourth game since undergoing a right hip arthroscopy and labral repair on Sept. 16th, while Ondrej Kase missed his second game of the season due to an upper body injury sustained in New Jersey on Jan. 16th.

Early in the opening frame, Claude Giroux tripped DeBrusk and presented Boston with the first power play of the night at 3:42 of the first period.

The Bruins did not convert on the resulting skater advantage, however.

A few minutes later, Sean Kuraly was penalized for holding Mark Friedman at 6:57, yielding the Flyers their first power play of the game.

Philadelphia was also unsuccessful on their first skater advantage of the night.

Late in the period, Nicolas Aube-Kubel slashed B’s defender, Kevan Miller, and cut a rut to the penalty box as a result at 18:13.

Boston couldn’t muster anything on the power play as time winded down, expired and signaled the start of the first intermission.

After 20 minutes of action, the game remained tied, 0-0, though the Bruins outshot the Flyers, 14-3.

The B’s also had the advantage in blocked shots (4-3), takeaways (5-4) and faceoff win percentage (77-24), while the Flyers led in giveaways (4-1).

Both teams had eight hits aside.

Philadelphia was 0/1 and Boston was 0/2 on the power play entering the dressing room for the first intermission.

David Krejci caught Nolan Patrick with a high stick and cut a rut to the sin bin at 4:45 of the second period.

Late in the ensuing power play Giroux (1) fired a snap shot from the faceoff circle over Rask’s blocker on the short side while Patrick screened the Bruins goaltender to give the Flyers the first lead of the night.

Ivan Provorov (1) had the only assist on Giroux’s power-play goal as Philadelphia took a, 1-0, lead at 6:17 of the second period.

It was the first goal allowed by Boston’s penalty kill this season, ending their run of 14 consecutive successfully killed infractions.

Miller was assessed a minor for holding six seconds after Philadelphia scored the game’s first goal. With Miller in the box at 6:23, the Bruins went back on the penalty kill.

This time the Flyers weren’t able to capitalize on the skater advantage.

Midway through the period, Friedman initiated a wrestling match with Brad Marchand in the open ice of the neutral zone before falling awkwardly, bleeding and exiting the game.

No penalty was called as a result of a usual event when two players get near each other while going for a line change without realizing they were charted on a collision course that ultimately went wrong.

Though Friedman did not return to the game, Flyers head coach, Alain Vigneault, noted that he was held out as a precaution and should be fine.

Anders Bjork hooked Jakub Voracek at 15:24 of the second period and was assessed a minor penalty.

In the vulnerable minute after special teams action, the Flyers caught the Bruins behind the play as Voracek sent a pass to James van Riemsdyk (2) that was promptly redirected from its sloppy off-speed original path to one that guided the puck to the back of the net from point blank.

Voracek (3) and Kevin Hayes (4) tallied the assists as Philadelphia jumped out to a two-goal lead, 2-0, at 17:31.

Through two periods of action, the Flyers led, 2-0, despite trailing the B’s in shots on goal, 18-11.

Philadelphia held the advantage in shots on goal in the second period alone, 8-4, while both teams had eight blocked shots and six takeaways each.

The Flyers led in giveaways (5-4), while Boston led in hits (17-15) and faceoff win% (62-38).

Philly was 1/4 and Boston was 0/2 on the power play heading into the second intermission.

Less than a minute into the final frame of regulation, Jack Studnicka (1) redirected a pass from Krejci off of Hart’s leg pad before gathering his own rebound and pocketing it in the twine while crashing the net.

Krejci (2) and Nick Ritchie (1) notched the assists on Studnicka’s first career NHL goal 57 seconds into the third period and the Bruins cut Philadelphia’s lead in half, 2-1.

It was also the first goal at 5-on-5 for Boston this season.

A mere 69 seconds later, Charlie Coyle (1) spun and fired home a rebound from inside the faceoff dot to the right of the Flyers netminder– tying the game, 2-2, in the process.

Craig Smith (1) recorded his first point as a Bruin with the primary assist, while Miller (1) tallied his first point in almost two years with the secondary helper on Coyle’s goal at 2:06 of the third period.

The game didn’t remain even for long as Voracek fired an intentional shot off of Travis Sanheim’s (1) skate past Rask to give Philly the lead once again, 3-2, at 7:13.

Voracek (4) and Patrick (3) had the assists on Sanheim’s goal.

Moments later, Scott Laughton cross checked Jakub Zboril at 13:04 of the third period and presented Boston with another power play opportunity.

It didn’t take long for Patrice Bergeron to find Ritchie (2) wide open in the low slot, banking a shot off of Hart’s glove and into the open net behind the Flyers goaltender.

Bergeron (2) and Krejci (3) had the assists on Ritchie’s power-play goal as the Bruins pulled even, 3-3, at 13:22.

Less than two minutes later, Brandon Carlo (1) rocketed a slap shot from the point under the crossbar to give Boston their first lead of the night, 4-3, at 15:18 of the third period.

Matt Grzelcyk (2) and Marchand (3) notched the assists on Carlo’s goal, but despite taking their first lead of the night, the B’s didn’t hold onto it for long.

Kuraly delivered a cross check on Giroux and was assessed a penalty at 15:24.

van Riemsdyk (3) went unchecked by Charlie McAvoy and Carlo before connecting on a power-play goal from in front of the net to tie the game, 4-4.

Voracek (5) and Hayes (5) each picked up another assist while the Flyers knotted the game up with another power-play goal at 16:28.

Boston led for all of 70 seconds in regulation.

With 20.4 seconds left in the third period, Vigneault used his timeout, but the Flyers weren’t successful in the execution of whatever plan they drew up to win the game in the dying seconds.

Overtime was necessary for the third time this season for the Bruins and for the first time for the Flyers.

After 60 minutes, with Boston leading in shots on goal, 40-21, including a, 22-10, advantage in the third period alone, the game remained tied, 4-4.

Philadelphia led in blocked shots (13-8), takeaways (9-7) and giveaways (8-5), while the Bruins held the advantage in hits (24-19) and faceoff win% (61-39) going into overtime.

As no penalties were called in the extra frame, the Flyers finished Thursday night 2/5 on the power play, while the Bruins went 1/3 on the skater advantage.

Vigneault started Giroux, Laughton and Provorov in overtime, while Cassidy countered with Bergeron, Marchand and McAvoy.

In the end, Boston mustered just three shots on goal in the five minutes of 3-on-3 action, while Rask stood tall– denying Hayes on a one-timer with an aerial leg pad save.

After overtime, the score remained, 4-4, while Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 43-26, despite trailing, 5-3, in shots in OT.

Philadelphia finished the night leading in blocked shots (15-9) and giveaways (8-5), while the Bruins wrapped up Thursday’s action leading in hits (24-21) and faceoff win% (63-37).

A shootout was necessary to determine a winner and Cassidy opted for his team to shoot first.

He sent out Smith to get things going for Boston, but Smith’s shot was stopped by Hart as he tried to sneak one in through the five-hole.

Voracek was Vigneault’s first round response, but despite his off-speed approach, Rask stoned him cold with a pad save on Voracek’s backhand shot.

Coyle kicked things off in round two of the shootout with a shot wide on Hart’s glove side.

Travis Konecny answered back with a shot that grazed Rask’s glove and also went wide.

Finally, DeBrusk hit the back of the net with a chip shot over Hart’s blocker side after a nifty toe-drag approach to give the Bruins a, 1-0, advantage in the shootout.

All that was left was for Rask to make a save and Boston would win.

Vigneault sent out Giroux.

Giroux waltzed his way into the attacking zone for his attempt, feigned a slap shot, slowed up and went for Rask’s glove side, but the Bruins goaltender denied him with a save.

Boston emerged victorious with the, 5-4, shootout win.

The B’s improved to 2-0 in shootouts this season and 2-1 past regulation overall, while the Flyers fell to 0-1 in both categories.

Boston also improved to 1-1-0 when tied after the first period, 1-0-0 when trailing after two periods and 1-1-1 when allowing the game’s first goal this season.

The Bruins began their four-game homestand with a, 5-4, shootout victory against Philadelphia on Thursday and will host the Flyers again on Saturday before hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 26th and Jan. 28th.

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Varlamov, Islanders shutout Bruins, 1-0

Semyon Varlamov earned his league-leading 2nd shutout this season in as many games as the New York Islanders beat the Boston Bruins, 1-0, Monday night at Nassau Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Varlamov (2-0-0, 0.00 goals against average, 1.000 save percentage in two games played) made 27 saves en route to the shutout win for New York.

Boston goaltender, Tuukka Rask (1-1-0, 1.46 GAA, .923 SV% in two games played) stopped 16 out of 17 shots faced for a .941 SV% in the loss.

The Bruins fell to 1-1-1 (three points) on the season and dropped to a tie for 4th place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the Islanders improved to 2-1-0 on the season (four points) and moved up to a tie for 2nd place with the Philadelphia Flyers– at least temporarily, as the Flyers were in action Monday night.

Boston also fell to 18-3-1 in their last 22 games against New York in the regular season.

Prior to puck drop, the Islanders aired a National Hockey League produced video on the Jumbotron celebrating the 63rd anniversary of when Willie O’Ree broke the league’s color barrier on Jan. 18, 1958, with the Bruins.

All 31 teams have been sporting O’Ree decals on their helmets with the words “Celebrating Equality” emblazoned on a profile of O’Ree wearing his famous fedora for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend.

O’Ree will have his No. 22 retired by Boston ahead of their matchup with the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 18th this season. They will honor him again as soon as possible whenever fans will be allowed at TD Garden.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made a few changes to his lineup with Ondrej Kase (upper body) out against the Islanders on Monday.

Patrice Bergeron centered the first line with Brad Marchand in his usual spot on the left wing, while Jake DeBrusk was moved up to the first line right wing.

Nick Ritchie took DeBrusk’s usual spot on the second line left wing with David Krejci at center and Jack Studnicka on the right wing.

Charlie Coyle centered the third line with Anders Bjork to his left and Craig Smith to his right, while the fourth line remained untouched.

On defense, Jeremy Lauzon and Charlie McAvoy remained paired, while Matt Grzelcyk was partnered with Brandon Carlo and Jakub Zboril had Kevan Miller by his side.

Monday night marked 300 career NHL games for Carlo and 200 career NHL games for Grzelcyk. Both defenders have spent their entire careers with Boston thus far.

Kase missed his first game this season due to injury after taking a stick up high in Saturday afternoon’s, 2-1, overtime loss in New Jersey, while David Pastrnak missed his third straight game and is yet to make his season debut after offseason hip surgery.

Pastrnak remains ahead of schedule, however, and is likely to return before his original prognosis of Feb. 16th.

Greg McKegg, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Connor Clifton and Dan Vladar were in the press box as healthy scratches and taxi squad members Monday night.

Almost midway through the opening frame, Carlo cross checked Matt Martin and presented the first power play of the evening to the Islanders at 7:25 of the first period.

New York wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however.

Late in the period, Isles forward, Casey Cizikas, knocked down Coyle without the puck and earned a trip to the penalty box for interference at 16:40.

Boston was not able to score on the resulting power play.

Entering the first intermission, the game remained tied, 0-0, while the Bruins were leading in shots on goal, 11-3.

New York held the advantage in blocked shots (7-3), takeaways (3-1) and hits (9-6), while both teams had three giveaways each, were 50-50 in faceoff win percentage and 0/1 on the power play after 20 minutes on Monday.

Adam Pelech was guilty of holding Marchand 53 seconds into the second period and presented the Bruins with their second power play opportunity of the night.

Boston’s skater advantage was cut short, however, as Ritchie slashed Scott Mayfield and earned a trip to the sin bin at 1:43 of the middle frame.

New York earned a short power play after an abbreviated 4-on-4 sequence, but the Isles still weren’t able to score on the power play.

The Islanders lost count at one point and had too many skaters on the ice, resulting in a bench minor that was served by Jordan Eberle at 6:53.

Boston’s power play was powerless and New York got by unscathed.

Late in the period, Smith clipped Varlamov in the skate with his stick, which Varlamov embellished for dramatic affect, but was goaltender interference nonetheless.

The Islanders went back on the power play with Smith in the box for goaltender interference at 15:45, but Boston’s penalty kill held their ground.

Through 40 minutes of action on Monday, the game was still tied, 0-0, despite the Bruins outshooting the Islanders, 17-10.

New York, however, actually led in shots on goal in the second period alone, 7-6, as well as in blocked shots (11-10), takeaways (7-1), giveaways (8-4), hits (20-15) and faceoff win% (60-40) heading into the second intermission.

Both teams were 0/3 on the power play prior to the final frame of regulation.

Marchand cross-checked Eberle to kick things off with a trip to the penalty box at 1:17 of the third period.

Once again, though, Boston’s penalty kill did not concede to New York’s power play.

Moments later, Eberle tripped Grzelcyk while the two players were tied up– causing Grzelcyk to fall awkwardly to the ice and leave the game with an upper body injury (he was favoring his left arm, for the record).

Trent Frederic served Grzelcyk’s interference infraction, while Eberle was assessed a tripping minor at 5:43, resulting in 4-on-4 action for a pair of minutes early in the period.

Late in the period, Jean-Gabriel Pageau (1) hit a home run on a puck that was floating in mid-air as Pelech fired a shot that deflected off of Bergeron’s stick before Pageau whacked it into the twine above Rask’s blocker side.

Pelech (1) and Ryan Pulock (1) tallied the assists on the game’s first and only goal at 15:51 of the third period.

The Islanders took the, 1-0, lead and that was enough for the final result on Monday.

Less than a minute later, McAvoy was called for holding against Anthony Beauvillier at 16:07, but once again New York’s power play was powerless.

With 1:35 remaining in the game, Rask vacated his net for an extra attacker.

The Bruins used their timeout after a stoppage with 51.4 seconds left in the action, but it was to no avail.

At the final horn, the Islanders had won, 1-0, and Varlamov recorded the shutout.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 27-17, including a, 10-7, advantage in the third period alone, while New York wrapped up Monday night’s action leading in blocked shots (17-12), hits (31-26) and faceoff win% (51-49).

The Bruins held the final advantage in giveaways (10-9) on Monday.

The Islanders finished the game 0/5 on the skater advantage, while the B’s went 0/3 on the power play.

The Bruins finished their three-game road trip 1-1-1 to start the 2020-21 56-game regular season.

Boston returns home to face the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday and Saturday for their first two home games of the season at TD Garden. The B’s then host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 26th and 28th before hitting the road again.

For the first time since Nov. 2, 2013, the Islanders beat the Bruins on home ice. New York beat Boston, 3-1, that day.

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Sharangovich’s 1st lifts Devils over Bruins in overtime, 2-1

You always remember your first time and Yegor Sharangovich will certainly always remember his first career National Hockey League goal, since he scored it with about two seconds left in overtime on Saturday to give the New Jersey Devils a, 2-1, victory over the Boston Bruins at Prudential Center.

New Jersey goaltender, Mackenzie Blackwood (1-0-1, 1.85 goals against average, .954 save percentage in two games played), made 27 saves on 28 shots against for a .964 SV% in the overtime win.

Bruins netminder, Jaroslav Halak (0-0-1, 1.85 GAA, .954 SV% in one game played) stopped 29 out of 31 shots faced for a .935 SV% in the loss.

Boston fell to 1-0-1 (three points) on the season and remains tied for 3rd place in the MassMutual NHL East Division with New Jersey– now 1-0-1 on the season (also three points).

The Bruins dropped to 14-6-4 all time in 24 games at Prudential Center, outscoring the Devils, 69-48, in that span.

Bruce Cassidy made a few lineup changes as Craig Smith made his Bruins debut after missing the season opener on Thursday night in New Jersey due to a lower body injury.

Smith was placed in his expected role on the third line right wing with Nick Ritchie and Charlie Coyle, while Anders Bjork was moved up to the first line right wing with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

As a result, Jack Studnicka was a healthy scratch on Saturday afternoon.

No other lineup changes were made, leaving Studnicka in the press box with Greg McKegg, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Connor Clifton, Dan Vladar and David Pastrnak (hip).

Kevan Miller and Miles Wood exchanged fisticuffs just 19 seconds into the action on Saturday afternoon as Wood was expected to respond for running into Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask, twice on Thursday night.

Cassidy made it clear to his team that he didn’t want to see opponents start a trend of getting friendly with his goaltender, so Miller was compelled to exchange pleasantries with the Devils forward.

Both players received fighting majors– the first fight of the season for Boston and the first fight for Miller since Jan. 29, 2019, when No. 86 in black and gold fought Winnipeg Jets center, Adam Lowry.

About five minutes later, Charlie McAvoy tripped up Jack Hughes and was assessed a minor penalty at 5:45 of the first period, yielding the first power play of the game to New Jersey.

The Devils were not able to convert on their first skater advantage of the afternoon.

Moments later, Matt Tennyson was called for holding against Coyle at 9:02 and presented the Bruins with their first power play of the game.

Boston’s power play spent more time chasing the puck outside of their attacking zone than they did at setting up anything on the ensuing power play.

Late in the opening frame, Ty Smith fired a shot from the point that Wood (2) tipped while screening Halak in the slot to give the Devils the, 1-0, lead.

Smith (1) and Hughes (3) tallied the assists on Wood’s goal at 16:15.

With the primary assist, Smith became the fourth defender in New Jersey’s franchise history to record a point in each of his first two career games, joining Viacheslav Fetisov (1989-90), Les Auge (1980-81) and Barry Beck (1977-78) in the process.

About a minute later, Sean Kuraly and Kyle Palmieri exchanged slashes and receiving minor penalties, resulting in 4-on-4 action for a pair of minutes at 17:34.

Entering the first intermission, the Devils led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 8-7, in shots on goal.

New Jersey held the advantage in blocked shots (5-1), takeaways (3-2), giveaways (4-3) and hits (10-3), while Boston led in faceoff win percentage (65-35) after 20 minutes of action Saturday afternoon.

Both teams were 0/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Matt Grzelcyk fired a shot that Ritchie redirected past Blackwood, but the would-be goal was immediately waved off due to incidental contact with the New Jersey goaltender.

Smith appeared to bump into Blackwood, despite Boston’s protest as Cassidy used a coach’s challenge on the grounds that he thought his player was pushed by a Devils defender into Blackwood.

Nevertheless, the call on the ice stood. The Bruins hadn’t scored and were instead assessed a bench minor for delay of game.

Jake DeBrusk served the infraction against Boston at 16:01 of the second period, but New Jersey wasn’t able to score on the ensuing power play.

Instead, the Bruins worked a little magic while shorthanded.

Marchand worked his way around Palmieri and into the attacking zone before setting up Bergeron (1) for his 18th career shorthanded goal.

Marchand (2) had the only assist on Bergeron’s snap shot goal as the B’s tied the game, 1-1, at 17:16 of the second period.

At some point in the middle frame, Ondrej Kase took a stick up high from Wood in a corner battle and did not return to the action.

Entering the second intermission, the score was tied, 1-1, despite the Bruins outshooting the Devils, 20-16, including a, 13-8, advantage in the second period alone.

New Jersey led in blocked shots (5-4), takeaways (5-3), giveaways (9-5) and hits (17-11), while Boston led in faceoff win% (64-36).

The Devils were 0/2 and the Bruins were 0/1 on the power play after 40 minutes of action.

Less than a minute into the final frame of regulation, P.K. Subban held and wrestled Trent Frederic to the ground resulting in a minor infraction for holding 28 seconds into the third period.

Boston did not convert on the resulting skater advantage, however.

Late in the period, Grzelcyk hooked Janne Kuokkanen and cut a rut to the penalty box at 18:36. The Devils used their timeout to draw up a game-winning plan on the power play, but it was to no avail.

New Jersey couldn’t score before the horn, which meant they would have a 4-on-3 skater advantage to begin what would usually be five minutes of sudden death 3-on-3 overtime.

After 60 minutes of gameplay, the score remained tied, 1-1, with the Devils outshooting the Bruins, 27-25, including an, 11-5, advantage in the third period alone for New Jersey.

The Bruins had taken control of blocked shots (9-7), but the Devils still held the advantage in takeaways (6-5), giveaways (13-5) and hits (23-14).

Boston continued to dominate faceoff win% (64-36), however.

As no penalties were called in overtime, New Jersey finished the afternoon 0/3 on the power play, while the B’s went 0/2 on the skater advantage.

Cassidy rolled out Bergeron, McAvoy and Miller to start overtime while on the penalty kill.

Devils head coach, Lindy Ruff, started Hughes, Palmieri, Damon Severson and Subban.

Neither team could score until Sharangovich (1) ended it in the dying seconds after the Devils forced a turnover in the attacking zone and Sharangovich broke free from Coyle and Grzelcyk while the two Bruins were rushing back to defend.

Sharangovich slid the puck through Halak’s gaping five-hole and won the game at 4:58 of the overtime period.

Severson (1) and Palmieri (1) had the assists on Sharangovich’s first career NHL goal as the 22-year-old forward continued an impressive start to a decent 2020-21 season in professional hockey.

He had 17-8–25 totals in 34 games with Dinamo Minsk (KHL) prior to quarantining for the NHL’s 56-game season with New Jersey.

The Devils finished the afternoon with the, 2-1, overtime victory while leading in shots on goal, 31-28, including a, 4-3, advantage in the extra frame alone.

New Jersey wrapped up Saturday’s action with the advantage in giveaways (13-6) and hits (23-15), while Boston left town with the advantage in blocked shots (10-7) and faceoff win% (65-35).

The Devils improved to 1-0 in overtime this season as the B’s fell to 1-0 in OT.

Both teams are now 1-1 past regulation this season.

Boston is now 0-0-1 when trailing after the first period, 0-0-1 when tied after the second period and 0-0-1 when allowing the game’s first goal this season.

The Bruins wrap up their three-game road trip (1-0-1) to start the 2020-21 season at Nassau Coliseum on Monday against the New York Islanders. Boston returns home to face the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 21st for their first home game of the season at TD Garden.

There will be no fans in attendance in Boston for the foreseeable future as COVID-19 restrictions remain in place in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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Marchand helps Bruins beat Devils, 3-2, in shootout victory

The Boston Bruins kicked off the 2020-21 regular season with a, 3-2, shootout win against New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Thursday night.

Tuukka Rask (1-0-0, 1.85 goals against average, .909 save percentage in one game played, one start) made 20 saves on 22 shots faced in the shootout win for the Bruins.

Mackenzie Blackwood (0-0-1, 1.85 goals against average, .946 save percentage in one game played, one start) turned aside 35 out of 37 shots against in the shootout loss for the Devils.

Boston improved to 1-0-0 (two points) on the season, while New Jersey fell to 0-0-1 (one point) on the season.

B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, improved to 162-66-34 in 262 games with Boston.

Devils head coach, Lindy Ruff, kicked off his new gig with a shootout loss as both teams will face each other seven more times this season in the temporarily realigned MassMutual NHL East Division for the 2020-21 season.

For the first time in franchise history (97 seasons), the Bruins will not face the Montreal Canadiens at all in the regular season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting temporary division realignment with the United States’ border with Canada currently closed.

Prior to Thursday night’s action in New Jersey, Patrice Bergeron was named the 20th captain in franchise history on Jan. 6th, replacing Zdeno Chara, who served as the club’s captain from 2006-20, before departing for the Washington Capitals in free agency on Dec. 30, 2020.

David Krejci and Brad Marchand will serve as alternate captains for Boston this season.

Krejci has been an alternate captain since the 2013-14 season, while Marchand has worn an “A” on his jersey off-and-on since the 2018-19 season.

As a result of the ongoing global pandemic, teams are allowed to carry extra players on a “taxi squad” that will not count against their daily salary cap limit.

The Bruins have not announced who they will utilize on their “taxi squad” this season, but Trent Frederic, Urho Vaakanainen, Jack Studnicka, Dan Vladar and Greg McKegg all made the trip to New Jersey with the team.

David Pastrnak (hip surgery in the offseason) was out of the lineup against the Devils Thursday night, but is expected to return to play ahead of schedule since his original prognosis when he underwent a right hip arthroscopy and labral repair on Sept. 16th.

Craig Smith (lower body injury) missed Thursday night’s action and is yet to make his B’s debut since signing a three-year contract worth $3.100 million per season on Oct. 10th.

Cassidy made a few adjustments to his lines as a result of the injuries and free agency departures in the offseason.

The first line consisted of Marchand at left wing, Bergeron at center and Studnicka on right wing.

Rounding out the top-six forwards on the second line were Ondrej Kase, David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk.

Charlie Coyle centered the third line with Nick Ritchie at his left side and Anders Bjork on his right side, while Sean Kuraly centered the fourth line with Frederic and Chris Wagner as his wings.

On defense, Cassidy started Matt Grzelcyk and Kevan Miller– honoring Miller in his first game back in 651 days since multiple knee injuries dating back to April 2019.

Jeremy Lauzon was paired with Charlie McAvoy and Jakub Zboril was partnered with Brandon Carlo.

Karson Kuhlman remains in COVID protocol, while Par Lindholm, John Moore and Connor Clifton were healthy scratches. Smith and Pastrnak were out of the lineup due to their injuries.

Early in the opening frame, Jesper Boqvist slashed Frederic and presented the Bruins with their first power play opportunity of the night at 6:14 of the first period.

Boston’s skater advantage didn’t last long as Grzelcyk caught Yegor Sharangovich with a slash at 7:16.

After an abbreviated period of 4-on-4 action followed by a short New Jersey power play, neither team could muster anything on the scoresheet.

McAvoy laid out Sharangovich with a crushing hit at 13:19, but was too far from the puck and assessed a minor infraction for interference.

The Devils were not successful on the ensuing power play, however.

Late in the first frame, Miles Wood collided with Rask and cut a rut to the box with a goaltender interference infraction at 17:02.

Boston didn’t waste much time getting to work on the resulting power play as Marchand (1) one-timed a redirection past Blackwood from just outside the crease to give the Bruins the first lead of the night, 1-0.

Krejci (1) and Bergeron (1) notched the assists on Marchand’s power-play goal at 17:40 of the first period.

Entering the first intermission, the Bruins were dominating in possession, on the scoreboard, 1-0, and in shots on goal, 16-4.

The B’s also held the advantage in faceoff win percentage, 67-33.

New Jersey, meanwhile, led in blocked shots (7-3), giveaways (8-2) and hits (12-5), while both teams had one takeaway each in the first 20 minutes of game action.

The Devils were 0/2 and the Bruins were 1/2 on the power play entering the middle frame.

Kuraly tripped Sharangovich at 2:41 of the second period and presented New Jersey with an early skater advantage in the period, but Boston’s penalty kill remained strong.

McAvoy was guilty of hooking Janne Kuokkanen at 7:56, but once again New Jersey’s power play couldn’t score.

Midway through the game, the Devils committed a bench minor for too many skaters on the ice at 10:53.

Newcomer, Andreas Johnsson, (acquired in the offseason via a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs) served the penalty while Boston’s power play went powerless.

Through 40 minutes of play on Thursday, the Bruins held onto the, 1-0, lead and led in shots on goal, 26-11– including a, 10-7, advantage in the second period alone.

New Jersey led in blocked shots (10-6), takeaways (6-2), giveaways (16-4) and hits (20-8), while Boston led in faceoff win% (63-37) after two periods.

The Devils were 0/4 on the power play, while the B’s were 1/3 entering the dressing room for the second intermission.

Kuokkanen was penalized for holding Kuraly and yielded another power play to Boston at 6:18 of the third period.

Shortly after killing off the infraction, Wood (1) broke free from the Bruins’ defense and snapped a shot over Rask’s blocker side to tie the game, 1-1, at 8:51 of the final frame of regulation.

Jack Hughes (1) had the only assist on Wood’s goal.

Moments later, Krejci hooked Travis Zajac and was sent to the sin bin at 10:14, but New Jersey’s power play didn’t last long as Wood ran into Rask again and picked up another goaltender interference infraction at 11:13.

The two clubs had about a minute of 4-on-4 action before an abbreviated power play followed for the Bruins.

Ritchie (1) scored a close range goal similar to Marchand’s to put the B’s back on top, 2-1, with a power-play goal of his own.

Marchand (1) and Grzelcyk (1) tallied the assists on Ritchie’s goal at 13:12, but Boston didn’t hold the lead for long as they surrendered a wacky goal 34 seconds later.

Ty Smith (1) scored his first career National Hockey League goal as the last Devils player to touch the puck before it bounced off of McAvoy, then Lauzon, Lauzon’s stick, McAvoy again and finally floated over Rask and into the twine.

The fluke goal tied the game, 2-2, and was assisted by Matt Tennyson (1) and Hughes (2) at 13:46 of the third period.

At the end of regulation, the score remained even, despite Boston outshooting the Devils, 35-18.

The Bruins had a, 9-7, advantage in shots on goal in the third period alone, while New Jersey led in blocked shots (13-6), takeaways (11-3), giveaways (19-6) and hits (26-13) after regulation.

Boston led in faceoff win%, 58-42, entering overtime.

As no penalties were called in the extra frame, the Bruins finished the night 2/5 on the power play, while the Devils went 0/5 on the skater advantage.

The two teams swapped chances in overtime– including a couple of heart-stopping moments where the Devils nearly completed the comeback, but neither side could seal the deal on an overtime win.

Despite Cassidy’s best efforts starting Coyle, DeBrusk and McAvoy in overtime, as well as Ruff’s lineup of Hughes, Kyle Palmieri and P.K. Subban in 3-on-3 OT, a shootout was necessary.

The Bruins finished the night leading in shots on goal, 37-22, despite being outshot, 4-2, in overtime alone.

New Jersey finished Thursday’s effort leading in blocked shots (14-7), giveaways (19-6) and hits (26-13), while the Bruins settled for the final advantage in faceoff win% (57-43).

The Devils elected to shoot first in the shootout and sent Nikita Gusev out to get the job in round one, but Rask stoned him cold as Gusev attempted to go five-hole on the veteran netminder.

Coyle was denied by Blackwood with a pad save as the Bruins forward tried to pull the New Jersey goaltender out of position.

Boqvist was stopped by Rask in a routine save while Kase couldn’t sneak one past Blackwood’s blocker side in the second round of the shootout.

After Hughes lost the puck while attempting to dangle his way into the low slot, Cassidy sent Marchand to try to get the win for Boston.

Marchand came through for his coach and the rest of the Bruins with an off-tempo shot through Blackwood’s five-hole after getting the New Jersey goaltender to commit to his fake handiwork before taking the shot.

The Bruins won the shootout, 1-0, after three rounds and clinched the, 3-2, shootout victory over the Devils to start the 2020-21 season.

It was Boston’s first shootout win since Feb. 20, 2019, when the B’s downed the Vegas Golden Knights on the road in what was also a, 3-2, shootout victory.

With the win, the Bruins improved to 1-0-0 when leading after the first period, 1-0-0 when leading after the second period, 1-0-0 when scoring the game’s first goal and 1-0 in shootouts (1-0 past regulation) this season.

Boston continues their three-game road trip on Saturday afternoon with a rematch against the Devils in New Jersey at 1 p.m. ET before heading to Nassau Coliseum on Monday (Jan. 18th) for a game with the New York Islanders.

The Bruins return to Boston for their home opener at TD Garden on Jan. 21st against the Philadelphia Flyers.

There will be no fans in attendance in Boston due to COVID-19 restrictions in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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NHL Nick's Net Previews

2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round Preview: Eastern Conference

The turnaround from the Qualifier to the First Round was too quick to get this out of the way (other than on the podcast), but at least the league and broadcasting partners gave us all a day or two between the First and Second Round– oh.

By the time that you’ll be reading this, all four Second Round series’ will have played at least one game, while some might have already played through two games.

Fear not, though, the series winner and other basic notes entering the Second Round were written down before puck drop and before the rest of the words in this post were filled around them.

Once again, this postseason is unpredictable– and that’s besides whatever happens on the ice.

At any point in time things could be shutdown again, because– you know– of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The players, coaches, team and league staff, as well as broadcasting crews and essential arena/hotel employees have all been in the bubble for almost a month now.

There aren’t enough words to express how taxing on the mind the isolation really is, despite teammates being in the bubble together, etc.

None on the league staff or team staff will see their families, romantic partners, roommates back home, etc. until they’re either eliminated or heading home with the Stanley Cup in their arms *fingers crossed*.

Luckily, the league’s made it this far into Phase 4 with no positive tests for COVID-19 out of the thousands of tests they’ve conducted.

For one reason or another (TV broadcast deals, probably), they’ve decided to make the Second Round feature a multitude of “back-to-backs”– that’s two games in two nights, whereas normally by this point in the playoffs there’s always (except for extenuating arena availability circumstances) a day off between each game in a series.

Alas, being in two bubble cities (Edmonton and Toronto), the league can do whatever it wants.

For now, let’s focus on the Eastern Conference teams in the Second Round.

As a reminder, the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final will be held at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, if everything goes according to plan. All Eastern Conference games before then, however, will take place at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario.

Sadly, families won’t allowed to join the players in the Conference Finals and beyond as was first anticipated at the beginning of the bubble.

(1) Philadelphia Flyers (41-21-7, 89 points) vs (6) New York Islanders (35-23-10, 80 points)

Philadelphia: 69 games played, .645 points percentage, 31 regulation wins.

N.Y. Islanders: 68 games played, .588 points percentage, 24 regulation wins.

In his first season as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, Alain Vigneault led the team from finishing in fourth place in the Eastern Conference by points percentage at the stoppage to securing the top seed in the East as a result of an undefeated Round Robin performance in what can only be described as wild a ride as the year 2020 has been.

No, the Flyers haven’t had as many lows as what 2020 has brought to the world, but they’ve been on fire as of late– since February, really– so maybe the universe is collapsing only because Philadelphia has what might be their greatest chance at winning the Cup for the first time since 1975.

Oh and they have a legitimate goaltender, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

The Flyers beat the Montreal Canadiens in six games in the First Round to advance to their Second Round matchup with the New York Islanders and– as has been the trend with 2020– nobody quite knows what to expect going into this series.

Travis Konecny led Philly in scoring in the regular season with 24-37–61 totals in 66 games before the ongoing pandemic shortened the season. Sean Couturier had the second-most points with 59 in 69 games and Jakub Voracek was third on the roster in scoring with 56 points in 69 games.

Thus far in the postseason, Voracek leads the team entering the Second Round with eight points (four goals, four assists) in eight games. Kevin Hayes has 1-6–7 totals in nine games, while Scott Laughton and Couturier each have five points entering Philly’s matchup with the Islanders.

In the regular season, Carter Hart led the way in the crease with a 24-13-3 record in 43 games (40 starts), one shutout, as well as a 2.42 goals against average and a .914 save percentage in that span.

Brian Elliott forged a 16-7-4 record in 31 games (27 starts), with a 2.87 GAA, an .899 SV% and two shutouts as Philadelphia’s backup, while Alex Lyon made three appearances (two starts) and had a 3.55 GAA, as well as an .890 SV% in the process.

Entering the Second Round, Hart has a 6-2-0 record in eight games with a 1.71 GAA, a .943 SV% and two shutouts in the process, while Elliott made one start and one relief appearance (two games) for a 1-0-0 record with a 1.47 GAA and a .913 SV%.

At the other end of the ice, the New York Islanders overcame the Florida Panthers in four games (3-1) in their best of five Qualifier series, then defeated the Washington Capitals in five games (4-1) in the First Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs to line themselves up with the Flyers in the Second Round.

Mathew Barzal led the charge for the Isles with 19-41–60 totals in 68 games this season with Brock Nelson (54 points in 68 games), Anders Lee (43 points in 68 games) and Josh Bailey (43 points in 68 games) at the forefront of New York’s offense in 2019-20.

Thus far in the postseason, Bailey’s emerged as the Islanders’ points leader with 2-8–10 totals in nine games, while Anthony Beauvillier entered Game 1 against Philadelphia hot on his tail with 6-3–9 totals in nine games.

Meanwhile, Nelson and Barzal each had seven points in nine games for the third most points on the team in the 2020 postseason.

In the crease, Semyon Varlamov went 19-14-6 in 45 games (39 starts) in the regular season with a 2.62 GAA and a .914 SV%, as well as two shutouts in that span, while Thomas Greiss backed Varlamov up with a 16-9-4 record in 31 games (29 starts), a 2.74 GAA and a .913 SV%.

Varlamov has a 7-2 record in nine games entering the Second Round with one shutout, as well as a 1.67 GAA and a .934 SV% in that span.

The Flyers went 0-2-1 in the regular season against the Islanders and– despite being the hottest team since February– now have to face one of the best teams at shutting things down on a night-to-night basis.

Barry Trotz’ defensive scheme is a game plan for success with the Isles’ makeup, so the Flyers are going to have to pull them away from their go-to lanes.

Plus there’s the lack of offense to worry about for Philadelphia from their First Round matchup with the Canadiens that, if any of it is leftover for the Second Round, could spell trouble for Philly’s Cup hopes.

Meanwhile, despite Varlamov’s consistency this postseason, the Flyers have the upper hand in the crease with Hart getting into a rhythm and hitting his stride when it counts.

This is the fifth time these two clubs have met in the postseason and the Flyers hold the, 3-1, advantage in all time series meetings prior, but there’s a chance New York gets revenge on Philadelphia for the first time since 1980.

As much as New York could pull off the upset (based on seeding only and disregarding regular season head-to-head performance), the Flyers should be able to put it together and advance to their first Eastern Conference Final since 2010, by wrapping things up in six games.

Regular season outcomes:

5-3 NYI at NYCB Live/Nassau Coliseum on Oct. 27th, 4-3 F/SO NYI at Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 16th, 5-3 NYI at Barclays Center on Feb. 11th

Schedule:

8/24- Game 1 NYI @ PHI in Toronto 7 PM ET on NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS

8/26- Game 2 NYI @ PHI in Toronto 3 PM ET on NBCN, SN, TVAS

8/27- Game 3 PHI @ NYI in Toronto 7 PM ET on NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS

8/29- Game 4 PHI @ NYI in Toronto 12 PM ET on NBC, SN, TVAS

8/31- Game 5 NYI @ PHI in Toronto*

9/2- Game 6 PHI @ NYI in Toronto*

9/3- Game 7 NYI @ PHI in Toronto*

*If necessary

(2) Tampa Bay Lightning (43-21-6, 92 points) vs (4) Boston Bruins (44-14-12, 100 points)

Tampa: 70 games played, .657 points percentage, 35 regulation wins.

Boston: 70 games played, .714 points percentage, 38 regulation wins.

Despite the Boston Bruins clinching the Presidents’ Trophy with the league’s best record in the 2019-20 shortened regular season, the Tampa Bay Lightning have the higher seed thanks to a better performance in the 2020 Round Robin.

Tampa avenged their elimination from last year’s First Round in four games by beating the Columbus Blue Jackets in the five games (4-1) in the 2020 First Round, which included a 5OT victory in Game 1 and a commanding overtime win in Game 5 (that ultimately ended the series, because that’s how a best-of-seven works).

Nikita Kucherov led the Lightning in the regular season with 33-52–85 totals in 68 games played, while Steven Stamkos had the second-most points on the team (66) despite being limited to 57 games due to injury.

Brayden Point, meanwhile, had the third most points on the team in the regular season with 25-39–56 totals in 66 games.

Entering the Second Round, however, Point was in command of Tampa’s scoring leaders with 5-5–10 totals in eight games, while Kucherov had nine points in eight games and a three-way tie for the third most between Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn and Yanni Gourde had yet to be resolved as each had four points prior to Tampa’s series matchup with Boston.

Oh and nobody knows how long Stamkos will be out since having core muscle surgery in March, then leaving practice in July after supposedly recovering in the allotted six to eight weeks post operation.

In the crease, Andrei Vasilevskiy led the charge with a 35-14-3 record in 52 games played (all starts), as well as three shutouts, a 2.56 GAA and a .917 SV% in that span.

His backup, Curtis McElhinney, posted an 8-7-3 record in 18 games with a 2.89 GAA, a .906 SV% and one shutout this season.

Entering the Second Round, Vasilevskiy was 6-2 in eight games with a 1.98 GAA and a .927 SV%.

The Lightning have a lot of fire power and a defense that’s good enough to help inflate their goaltender’s win column, regardless of his status as a Vezina Trophy finalist this season– it certainly helps win some games every now and then when the rest of your teammates are limiting your workload for you.

At the other end of the ice, the Boston Bruins went winless in the Round Robin and failed to record a point in the tournament while Chris Wagner led the team in scoring with a pair of goals over the three Round Robin games.

Then they flipped the switch and beat the Carolina Hurricanes in five games (4-1) to advance to the Second Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and, well, here they are.

David Pastrnak shared the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy honors with Alex Ovechkin in 2019-20, as both players scored 48 goals before the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic cut the regular season short.

Pastrnak also led the Bruins in scoring with 48-47–95 totals in 70 games.

Brad Marchand was second on the roster with 28-59–87 totals and Patrice Bergeron completed the first line, as well as the top-three trio in scoring with 31-25–56 totals in 61 games in the regular season.

In the postseason so far, the re-emergence of David “Playoff Krech” Krejci has come to fruition as No. 46 in black-and-gold leads his teammates in playoff scoring with 3-6–9 totals in eight games entering the Second Round.

Marchand (3-4–7 totals in eight games) and Bergeron (2-4–6 totals in eight games) are second and third on the roster, respectively, in scoring prior to their series matchup with Tampa.

Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak combined efforts to take home the William M. Jennings Trophy having allowed the fewest combined goals against (174) among goaltender(s) with a minimum of 25 games played in 2019-20.

Rask finished the regular season with a Vezina Trophy finalist nomination, as well as a 26-8-6 record in 41 games (41 starts), a 2.12 GAA, a .929 SV% and five shutouts in that span.

Halak went 18-6-6 in 31 games (29 starts) and had a 2.39 GAA, a .919 SV% and three shutouts prior to the pandemic cutting the regular season short.

Prior to opting out of the rest of the 2020 postseason due to a family medical emergency involving one of his daughters, Rask had a 1-3-0 record in four games (four starts) in the bubble with a 2.57 GAA and a .904 SV% in that span.

There is no blame for being a good parent and knowing that the right thing to always do is take care of your family first– even if your team is in the middle of what could be their last chance to win a Cup with their current core group of players.

The last time the league participated in a postseason in a pandemic, several players contracted the flu and one (Montreal Canadiens star, Joe Hall) died a few days after the 1919 Stanley Cup Final was called off from pneumonia as a complication from influenza.

Have some compassion, for once.

Halak, in the meantime, enters the Second Round as Boston’s starting goaltender with a 3-1-0 record in four games (four starts), as well as a 2.29 GAA and a .912 SV% in that span.

In the regular season, the Bruins went 1-2-1 against the Lightning, while the Bolts held a 3-1-0 record against Boston in the season series (their first game back on Oct. 17th being a, 4-3, shootout victory for Tampa).

Scoring was pretty even at a, 13-10, advantage for the Lightning across all four meetings, despite the Bruins outshooting the Bolts, 139-113, in the four games combined.

The two clubs are 1-1 all time in two previous postseason meetings, where Boston eliminated Tampa in seven games in the 2011 Eastern Conference Final and the Bolts returned the favor to the Bruins in five games in the 2018 Second Round.

Two years removed from Boston’s collapsed hopes of a deep run at the hands of the Lightning, the B’s made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2019, thanks to the Blue Jackets sweeping the Lightning in the 2019 First Round, then bowing out to Boston in six games in the 2019 Second Round.

These two Atlantic Division teams are more intertwined than average fan might think and a rivalry has sprung as of, well, really since that 2011 series.

The Bruins have struggled to handle the Lightning– especially within the last few seasons, at least.

With everything in mind, it’s also important to remember just how hard it is to go all the way back to the Stanley Cup Final after making it in the previous year– let alone make it out of the First Round after having five months off due to a pandemic.

If anything, it’s not that Bruins are an “aging team”– so are the Lightning at their core with each and every passing year that Stamkos and Co. have not won a Cup ring.

If anything, it’s that the Lightning simply are Boston’s Kryptonite like how the Montreal Canadiens once were before the 21st century.

Boston might be able to win a game or two, but Tampa should really have this series taken care of in six games.

Regular season outcomes:

4-3 F/SO TBL at TD Garden on Oct. 17th, 3-2 TBL at Amalie Arena on Dec. 12th, 2-1 BOS at Amalie Arena on March 3rd, 5-3 TBL at TD Garden on March 7th

Schedule:

8/23- Game 1 BOS @ TBL in Toronto 8 PM ET on NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS

8/25- Game 2 BOS @ TBL in Toronto 7 PM ET on NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS

8/26- Game 3 TBL @ BOS in Toronto 8 PM ET on NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS

8/28- Game 4 TBL @ BOS in Toronto 7:30 PM ET on USA, CBC, SN, TVAS

8/30- Game 5 BOS @ TBL in Toronto*

9/1- Game 6 TBL @ BOS in Toronto*

9/2- Game 7 BOS @ TBL in Toronto*

*If necessary

Categories
NHL Nick's Net Numbers Game

Look To The Rafters: Boston Bruins (Part II)

In the early days of DTFR, we made an educated guess as to who each team might honor in the future regarding retired jersey numbers. Since then, the Vegas Golden Knights came into existence and more than a few jersey numbers went out of circulation across the league. 

It’s time for an update and a look at who the Boston Bruins might honor by hanging their name and number from the rafters of TD Garden someday.

Boston Bruins Current Retired Numbers

2 Eddie Shore

3 Lionel Hitchman

4 Bobby Orr

5 Dit Clapper

7 Phil Esposito

8 Cam Neely

9 Johnny Bucyk

15 Milt Schmidt

16 Rick Middleton

24 Terry O’Reilly

77 Ray Bourque

Did Anything Change In The Last Five Years?

Yes! Rick Middleton had his No. 16 retired by the Bruins on Nov. 29, 2018, after scoring 898 points in 881 games with Boston over 12 seasons from 1976-88.

Possible Numbers to Retire Someday

30 Gerry Cheevers/Tim Thomas

The Bruins have never retired a goaltender’s jersey number, so why not make the first one count for two of the most prolific Boston netminders in the Expansion Era?

Boston has a chance to right a few wrongs if there’s any ill will leftover from Cheevers’ departure to the World Hockey Association (WHA) and back or Thomas’ debacle regarding his year-long vacation from the sport that led to being suspended from the team and his trade to the New York Islanders in Feb. 2013, while Thomas was resting at home reconnecting with (in his words) his family, friends and faith.

Last month, I addressed the pros and cons facing what might be a longshot at this point for No. 30 to ever be raised to the rafters at TD Garden in Cheevers’ and/or Thomas’ honor, but with Rick Middleton having his No. 16 retired last season– years after he hung up the skates and despite being on the outside looking in regarding Hockey Hall of Fame status, then there’s a chance the B’s overlook Cheevers’ sin and Thomas’ short tenure.

Nevertheless, both are Stanley Cup champion goaltenders and legends in their own right among Bruins fans around the Hub.

33 Zdeno Chara

The 2008-09 James Norris Trophy winner has played in 1,023 games in a Bruins uniform and amassed 148-333-481 totals in that span– so far. No, the 43-year-old defender and longest tenured captain in the National Hockey League is not done yet. 

Chara has indicated he’d like to go out on his own terms, whether that’s with another Cup under his belt or another full season– at least– if there’s ever another “normal” 82-game schedule again in the future.

In 1,553 career NHL games played for the Bruins (1,023 games), Ottawa Senators (299) and New York Islanders (231), Chara has 205 career goals and 451 career assists (656 points).

At 6-foot-9, he’s the tallest player in NHL history and though he might be tall in stature and a fierce competitor on the ice, Chara has a big heart off of it– taking charge in the annual pie donation at homeless shelters across Boston on American Thanksgiving, being one of the first You Can Play Project supporters and many other charitable efforts throughout the city, including, most recently, joining Black Lives Matter protests on the streets of Boston.

He joined the Bruins as a free agent on July 1, 2006, with Marc Savard as two centerpieces tasked with overhauling a floundering Original Six franchise on the ice and transforming the team into not only an annual playoff contender, but more popular than perhaps even the 1970s B’s teams throughout the New England region.

And even still, there’s some in the Bruins fan base that negate his workhorse effort, team leader mentality and humility.

Well, there was until he sustained a broken jaw in Game 4 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, then played in Game 5 on home ice with a cage and (presumably) in pain.

He’ll do anything to win another Cup since winning it with Boston nine years ago and ending the city’s 39-year Cup drought between raising Lord Stanley’s mug in 1972 and 2011.

37 Patrice Bergeron

Throughout the course of Bruins history there have been several individuals who have exemplified– with the utmost detail in every little thing they do– what it means to be a Bruin in Boston. 

Their names are Art Ross, Eddie Shore, Milt Schmidt, Bobby Orr and Patrice Bergeron.

Bergeron has spent his entire 16-year NHL career with Boston since being drafted by the Bruins in the second round (45th overall) in 2003. In 1,089 games, he’s scored 352 goals and amassed 517 assists for 869 career points. 

He’s also a member of the elusive Quadruple Gold Club, having won a Stanley Cup ring in 2011, two gold medals at the Winter Games for Canada in 2010 and 2014, a gold medal at the World Championship in 2004 and a gold medal at the World Junior Championship in 2005.

And if the Pentaple Gold Club was a thing, then Bergeron would be in that too– having been a member of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey championship winning Team Canada.

But enough about what he’s done away from the Bruins, eh.

If Schmidt was “Mr. Bruin”– or “The Ultimate Bruin” in his later years– then Bergeron is “Mr. Bruin Jr.” as the quintessential (likely) Bruin for life like how Schmidt lived and breathed (despite at one point coaching the Washington Capitals).

Bergeron recorded back-to-back 70-point seasons in his sophomore season and third NHL season, then suffered an almost career-ending– if not life threatening– concussion at the helm of Philadelphia Flyers defender, Randy Jones’ hit from behind just ten games into the 2007-08 season.

Bergeron’s season was cut short and his 2008-09 campaign was limited to 64 games when another concussion from a run-in with future teammate, then Carolina Hurricanes defender, Dennis Seidenberg, sidelined Bergeron for a duration of the season.

In 2011, Bergeron captured the Cup with Chara, Thomas and several other players who will be named in a moment that are possibly also deserving of the highest team honor in Boston– which raises a point about retired numbers in Bruins lore.

They come in bunches.

Nos. 2, 3 and 5 were all early pioneers of the franchise with No. 15 serving as a bridge between them and Nos. 4, 7 and 9. Then along came No. 24 before Nos. 8, 16 and 77 defined an era of Bruins hockey.

The same can be said for Nos. 33, 37, 40, 46 and perhaps 63 one day.

Anyway, No. 37 will go down in Boston sports history for more than a few reasons aside from his playoff overtime goals and everything else– he got better with age.

Bergeron turned in a career-high 79 points in 65 games played in 2018-19, and had 31-25–56 totals in 61 games up until the COVID-19 stoppage this season. He was on pace for 75 points had the regular season not met an abrupt end.

40 Tuukka Rask

No, Rask has “never won a Cup”. He has a Stanley Cup ring from 2011 and it doesn’t matter in the eyes of the engraver whether or not you were the starter or the backup when your name is etched into Lord Stanley’s mug.

Also, what hasn’t he done in Boston?

Rask has been a finalist for the Vezina Trophy twice (which was the same number of times Thomas was a Vezina finalist) in his career, winning in 2013-14 and yet to be determined this season. 

Oh, plus he ranks 1st in Bruins franchise history in wins (Rask has 291, Tiny Thompson is 2nd with 252), games played (Rask has 536, Thompson is 2nd with 468), saves (Rask has 13,711, Eddie Johnston had 12,375), save percentage (among goalies with a minimum of 100 games played as a Bruin, Rask has a .922, Thomas had a .921) and goals against average (again, among goalies with a minimum of 100 games played, Rask has a 2.26, Byron Dafoe had a 2.30).

Rask also leads all Bruins goaltenders in franchise history in points with 15 (all assists, as no B’s netminder has ever scored a goal). Cheevers is second to Rask in points by a Boston goaltender with 11 assists.

Want to talk about the two most important trophies in the league?

Cheevers and the Bruins made four Stanley Cup Final appearances together, winning in 1970 and 1972, and losing in 1977 and 1978. Boston also finished first in the regular season standings in 1970-71 and 1971-72, which preceded the creation of the Presidents’ Trophy in 1986, but was done with Cheevers in net.

Thomas won the Cup and the Conn Smythe in his only Stanley Cup Final with the team in 2011, but never backstopped the team to a Presidents’ Trophy season.

Rask, meanwhile, earned a Cup ring on the 2010-11 roster, dragged his teammates to the 2013 and 2019 Stanley Cup Final and helped them to the franchise’s second and third Presidents’ Trophy seasons in 2013-14 and 2019-20.

The Bruins have never retired a goaltender’s jersey number, but they’d be crazy not to retire Rask’s when his playing career is over.

And that’s not even mentioning the fact that both Thomas and Rask won the William M. Jennings Trophy in their careers. Thomas shared the award with his backup, Manny Fernandez, in the 2008-09 season, while Rask won the award with his backup, Jaroslav Halak, this season.

Crazy, right?

46 David Krejci

Imagine for a moment, if you will, a player like Bergeron, but only quieter and better at making everyone around him better because he has a golden stick when it comes to passing. That player is Krejci.

Krejci has 38 assists fewer than Bergeron in 178 games less in his career so far. Bergeron has 517 assists in 1,089 games, while Krejci has 479 assists in 911 career NHL games. Both players have only ever played for Boston.

A second-half of the season player, Krejci emerges in peak performance from about February onward and crests his prime in the postseason. As long as the Bruins clinch a playoff berth, Krejci remains a dark horse threat for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

He had 23 points in 25 games in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs and improved that to 26 points in 22 games in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In the run to his third Stanley Cup Final appearance, Krejci had 16 points across 24 games played through the seven-game series loss to the St. Louis Blues in 2019.

All of this is to say that Krejci is the other constant in the Bergeron-Chara Era (or is it really the Bergeron-Chara-Krejci Era?) and that he’s quietly amassed 207-479–686 totals in 911 career games with Boston from breaking into the league in the 2006-07 season through now.

Do not sleep on him. He deserves as much praise when all is said and done as some of the surefire players to have their jersey numbers retired when they hang up the skates.

63 Brad Marchand

Controversial? You got it.

But Terry O’Reilly has his jersey number hanging from the rafters of TD Garden, which means the “Little Ball of Hate” can get the same treatment as “Taz”.

Then there’s the fact that Marchand had 100 points last season in 79 games played– no, he did not miss any time due to any suspensions in 2018-19. He’s also had 85-points or more in the last four seasons dating back to 2016-17.

Since breaking into the league with a 20-game stint and only one assist in 2009-10, Marchand has gone on to amass 290-355–645 totals in 731 games from 2010-11 through the pandemic shortened 2019-20 season. That means he’s had 646 points in 751 career NHL games from the 2009-10 season through now.

After reaching 100 points last season in 79 games, Marchand had 87 points in 70 games this season. He was on pace for 102 points had the COVID-19 pandemic not interrupted those plans.

Instead of extending his four consecutive 30-goal seasons to five, Marchand finished short with 28 goals in 2019-20’s shortened regular season. He had a career-high 39 goals in 2016-17, and a career-high 64 assists last season.

Like Bergeron, Marchand appears to only be getting better with age and that’s only going to cement his status as an icon in Bruins franchise history. It might just be enough to push him over the edge and encourage Boston to hang his number from the rafters someday.

88 David Pastrnak

How did 24 other teams– yes fully acknowledging that some teams traded their picks to other teams that then had multiple picks in the first round before Boston selected 25th overall– pass over Pastrnak in the 2014 NHL Draft? How? 

In 390 career NHL games thus far, Pastrnak has 379 points. He has 180 goals and 199 assists in that span since breaking into the league in the 2014-15 season and not being sent back down to the Providence Bruins (AHL).

This season alone, Pastrnak had 48 goals in 70 games– tied for the league lead in goals scored with Washington Capitals forward, Alex Ovechkin– en route to sharing the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy and being the first Bruin in franchise history to have his name etched on that award named after the prolific Montreal Canadiens goal scorer from many years ago.

In fairness, the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy wasn’t a thing until the 1998-99 season, so B’s legends like Rick Middleton and Cam Neely never got a chance to win it (let alone Bobby Orr).

But Pastrnak is a star in his own right. He’s a star in the making that was on pace for 56 goals at the time of the stoppage and 111 points before the pandemic put an early end to the 2019-20 regular season.

Nevertheless, he set career-highs in goals (48), assists (47) and points (95) this season and has scored more goals than the prior season in four-consecutive seasons now (34 goals in 75 games in 2016-17, 35 goals in 82 games in 2017-18, 38 goals in 66 games in 2018-19 and 48 goals in 70 games in 2019-20).

As long as Pastrnak can stay healthy and maintain and/or elevate his play for the next four or five seasons, then he’ll see his jersey number in Boston’s rafters with their most recent prolific goal scorer with the last name “Neely”.

Final Thoughts

Since Chara created the current team culture, it’d be an insult to leave out any of the key core members of the last decade or so of Bruins hockey history. 

Sure, it might be a bit much to have so many jersey retirement nights upcoming and increasing the amount of jersey numbers taken out of circulation in Boston from 11 to upwards of at least 16, but to reiterate– the Bruins retire numbers in bunches.

These players define an era in B’s lore. These players are doing so as one unit– the way their current captain and perhaps greatest leader in the history of the team methodically designed, cultivated and produced the close-knit machine that is the Bruins organization on the ice and in the dressing room.

In a time with rightful public shaming and disgrace for not immediately stepping up and committing to help their employees in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, these players stepped up out of their own volition to do something their owner wouldn’t do without being provoked.

The very least that owner can do to keep in good faith standing with the club’s alumni and current players destined for jersey retirement night ceremony glory, would be to honor this extraordinary group of gentlemen with class.